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DateOriginal Topic
7th February 2005Carrying rifles/carbines on horseback
By Coll
Looking at the photograph ot Lt. Raw in Adrian Greaves book 'Isandlwana', I am curious about the way the rifle is secured at the side of the horse.

The rifle stock seems to be in some kind of shallow holster, the rifle pointing upwards, with a leather strap (or the actual sling) looped around the barrel and also Lt. Raw's arm at the elbow. Is this usual ?.

Although I have not seen many pictures of the mounted troops, the ones that I have seen have the troopers with their rifles slung diagonally across their back.

The way it is held in the photograph looks quite awkward to me, but then again, I'm no expert.

8th February 2005Graham Alexander
Prior to the mid 1860's, carbines were carried on horseback by means of a cross belt worn by the trooper and fixed by a carbine swivel. It was a poor way of carrying the firearm, as it allowed the weapon to crash around when riding the horse at a fast pace. Regular troops then had introduced a bucket which was attached to the saddle on the right hand side and had a securing strap around the top. This allowed the carbine to be carried securely, yet allowed it to be quickly withdrawn.
The photograph of Ltn. Raw shows a partial bucket, of a type not used by Imperial troopers. The top of the Martini is connected to the saddle behind the rider - NOT the arm of the rider. It looks like a variation of the full size carbine bucket, perhaps used by colonial troopers, or as you say perhaps they chose to sometimes carry their firearm across their backs by means of a sling.
8th February 2005Julian Whybra
Greaves is wrong I'm afraid, Coll. The photo is not of Raw. It is in fact Vause (and the other man is nor Raw either).
8th February 2005Julian Whybra
That should have read at the end "..not Raw either)."
8th February 2005Coll

Thanks very much for your detailed reply.


It is unfortunate that the photograph is not of Lt. Raw, as it was good to have a face put to the name.

I'll check my books and previous topics to see if a photograph of him does actually exist.

8th February 2005John Young
Coll & Graham,

I can also confirm that the horseman on the right is not Lt. Raw, despite claims to the contrary.

I last saw the original photograph in the possession of of Miss Lorraine Raw, who was related to both Lt. Raw & Lt. Vause, back in 1991in her home in South Africa. Miss Raw allowed a friend of mine to have copies made of the original. Sometime after this the original photograph appears to have been stolen, by person(s) unknown using means unknown.

It is my belief that the original photograph was taken at the time of the 1888 'Disturbances'.

At to the method of carrying the rifle as shown in the photograph of Lt. Vause & A.N. Other, appears to date from 1881, when the then Major Henry Hallam Parr, was given command of the Mounted Infantry, in the wake the 1st Anglo-Boer War. Parr describes the equipment worn by one of his command and relates it to a photograph which appears in 'Recollections & Correspondence' - 'Experts will note the rifle bucket placed beneath the knee on the off-side, thus preventing a man dismounting without drawing his rifle.'

The National Army Museum have some excellent photographs of Parr's Mounted Infantry. Michael Barthorp used at least one of them in 'The Zulu War: A Pictorial History'.

John Y.
8th February 2005John Young

I was answering the above when you made your last posting. There is a photograph of Raw in 'Zulu Victory' whilst he was serving in the Natal Carbineers. Again I last saw the original of that in 1991, in the Local History Museum, Durban.

John Y.
8th February 2005Julian whybra
There is a photo of Raw on the right of a group at king Cetshwayo's coronation - the original is in the Local History Museum, Durban but it appeared in the Journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society vol 7, Issue 2, p.11.
And just to confirm, in the photo you refer to, Vause is on the left, unknown (and NOT Raw) is on the right.
8th February 2005Coll
John and Julian

Thankyou for the information.

8th February 2005Richard
When the SA80 was introduced the British Army the bucket was re-introduced for motorcyclists.